Have you ever read a profile that says, “I live by the Golden Rule” or “I’m not that religious, but I do believe in treating others the way I’d want to be treated”?

So many people mention The Golden Rule in some form in their online dating profiles: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Okay, maybe not too many people on JDate considering it’s often associated with Christianity (though similar phrases do appear in the Torah—The Book of Leviticus, to be exact).  But the sentiment is still there.

So why is it that people often don’t practice what they preach, especially when it comes to technology?  At least once a month, a client tells me that he or she was stood up on a date.  I’m not talking about someone cancelling at the last minute, either (that’s sadly more like an everyday occurrence), but actually stood up.

I received this email recently from a friend:

“An issue that my single friends have been talking to me about are related to being stood up.  They’ve been connecting with these guys online who agree to meet and then bail at the very last minute with the WORST excuses (literally one of them was told that the guy couldn’t make it because his parents were coming over to go over their taxes).  And other friends have shown up on dates that have been planned and confirmed… and the date just isn’t there.”

Let’s talk for a minute about how most of us like to be treated:

  1. Our time is valuable, so if someone is going to cancel, we would prefer a day’s notice, or at least enough time to make other plans.
  2. If there is a last-minute cancellation, we would like there to at least be an apology of sorts.
  3. If someone changes his or her mind at the last minute about meeting, a simple explanation would be appropriate.
  4. If someone doesn’t like us, we would like to know rather than being left in the dust (aka “ghosted”) wondering if we’ll ever hear from him or her again. If you’re the one who needs to cancel or otherwise change plans, here are some simple solutions to make sure you’re treating the other person with The Golden Rule of Dating.


Just because it feels like you’re incognito online doesn’t give you right to deny others the same respect that you’d want to be shown.  Please keep this in mind when making, planning, and cancelling dates.  Let The Golden Rule live… one date at a time.

Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge and author of acclaimed Love at First Site. Her work has been seen on NPR, Talk Philly, The Washington Post, and more. To join her mailing list for tips and events, please join here.
  1. Do you think this is a generational gap? Men my age (in their 60s) do seem to call, but some still default to texting… and not even nice texts.

  2. I agree 100% with the examples. Arlene- it is a generational gap. I’m in my late twenties and I think perhaps women and men feel there is no need for chivalry when doing online dating. The fact of the matter, there should be and the “golden rules” should still apply.

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